A slot is a narrow opening into which something can be inserted or fitted, especially one in a machine for receiving a coin. It may also refer to a position in a series, sequence, or hierarchy.
In slot games, the symbols on a reel are determined by a random number generator. When a player presses the “spin” button, thousands of numbers are cycled each second, and when the numbers stop at a particular symbol, the player wins. The pay table is listed on the machine and shows how many credits a player can receive for various combinations of symbols.
Researchers have used various apparatus to collect data during and after participants play slots. For example, a Power-lab system was used to record ECG signals during the game and after the players finished playing. This equipment helped researchers identify the changes in heart rate and skin temperature triggered by the sounds that are played during a slot machine game. It also showed that participants were manipulated by the sound of winning and losing symbols.
The term slot is also used in aviation to describe the time when an airline can take off or land at a congested airport, such as Heathrow. These slots are allocated to airlines by EUROCONTROL as part of its network management role, and can be sold for large sums of money.